Danbury's Garcia, Warde's Charlie Kane win New England wrestling titles
There were 25 wrestlers representing the region this weekend at the 51st Annual New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships in North Andover, Mass., and the group did not disappoint on the mats.
Mt. Anthony (Vt.) won the team title for the third straight year 122.5 points. Newtown, which celebrated its first State Open title last weekend, finished second with 84 points, while Fairfield Warde was third with 69. Danbury was sixth with 51.5 points and Trumbull rounded out the top-10 with 40.
It was a very satisfying win for Garcia, who finished second at 170 last season. Garcia earned his title with a 3-1 decision over Connor Humphries of East Longmeadow (Mass.) in the final. It's the ninth individual New England title for Danbury.
"He wrestled pretty well," said Danbury coach Ricky Shook of Garcia. "He had some tough kids. He was smart and didn't make any mistakes. He knew what it took to get it done. I'm really happy for him. I expected him to win."
After a first-round bye, Garcia reached the final with a 9-3 win over Malik Settles, of Lowell (Mass.), a 5-2 win over George Tarwo of Concord (N.H.) and a 4-0 decision over Matt Froio of Cohasset, (Mass.).
Kane (48-0) defeated Ryan Monteiro of Minnechaug (Mass.) 5-1 in the final to become Warde's first New England winner. After a first-round bye, Kane reached the final with a 4-1 win over Hunter Costa (St. John's Prep (Mass.), a 14-8 win over Danny Scalzo of Timberlane (N.H) and a 5-2 decision over Chris Behen of Danvers (Mass.).
"It feels good," said Warde coach Jason Shaughnessy of Kane's win. "It's been a long time coming getting a New England champ. We had several runner-ups for many over the years. Charlie is a tough kid. He grinds it out and was pretty dominant."
There were 16 overall place finishers from the region.
Falbo, who won the title at 152 last year, lost a 13-4 major decision to Fritz Hoehn of North Andover, Mass. It was the first time Falbo had been taken down all season.
"We were humbled a little in some matches, but overall, we performed very well," said Newtown coach Chris Bray, who guided the Nighthawks to their first SWC title and second straight Class LL crown this year. "To do as well as we did and finish second is great. We have a big senior class and to send them off with this kind of season is great."
Also scoring points for the Nighthawks were sophomore Joe Accousti and senior James Leuci. Accousti took third at 152 and Leuci was fifth at 138.
Warde's highest team finish was boosted by senior Dan Ebert, who lost a 4-3 decision at 145 to Ryan Peters of Timberlane (N.H.). Sophomore Tim Kane, Charlie's younger brother, battled back in the wrestlebacks to take third place at 126. He defeated Peter Delgallo of Gardiner (Maine), 7-6.
"We brought three guys and they all did great," said Shaughnessy. "They scored a lot of bonus points along the way. Dan had a great tournament and lost a tough final."
Trumbull senior Cross Cannone battled all the way to the final for the second straight year. He lost in the 126 finals last season and this year faced Mt Anthony's Dylan Lafountain for the 132 title. The match was tied at 2-2 late in the third before Lafountain scored a takedown with two seconds left to earn the win. The runner-up finish for Cannone capped off a stellar season as he dominated the competition on his way to FCIAC, Class LL and State Open titles.
Danbury, which took second last year, received strong efforts from freshman Jakob Camacho at 106 and junior Jeremy Fields at 126. Camacho became the first freshman for the Hatters to place at New Englands by taking third and Fields battled back to finish fifth.
"They both showed a lot of heart," said Shook. "I thought Connecticut did very well. I thought we lost some tough matches in the finals."
New Fairfield junior Alex Opsal followed up his State Open title with a third-place finish at 113 and also picked up his 100th career win.
New Milford senior Kyle Lindner (120) was the region's other third-place finisher.
Other regional place winners were Foran freshman Ryan Luth (4th, 120), Immaculate/Barlow junior Emmett Licastri (5th, 145), and Trumbull sophomore Tristan Haviland (5th, 106).